This is a wonderful recounting of growing up in post war Hong Kong
I didn't have too deep a feeling about the old Hong Kong described in the book, although such 'old days' was in fact only half a century a ago. I was wondering how an eight years old boy has all the freedom to wander freely, on his own, to the mysterios part of Hong Kong, like the Kowloon Walled City, which even an ordinary local Hongkongee would avoid. What impressed me most is the author's borad-minder mother. She considered their role in Hong Kong was only an administrator, not the owner. Their labourious day on the Chau Kung Chau (Sunshine Island) and the visit to Hei Ling Chau was interesting, their walk from Tung Chung to the Po Lin Monastry was fun....Continua
My British manager recommended this book to me. After hearing the fun bits of the book from him, I read it with high expectations. This book totally lives up to my expectations. As an adventurous child, the author explored Hong Kong with an open mind. His lively character enabled him to experience an extraordinary Hong Kong childhood during the 1950s. When he first arrived HK, he lived in Soares Street, a street so close to my flat. His present, a rice bowl for his grandma, was exactly the same rice bowl I used when I was still a child. The author was about 40 years older than me and HK has changed so much over the period but it's fun to read the book and imagine what it was like years ago.
Even if you may not share the same HK knowledge with the author, it will still be an entertaining read for you....Continua
I presume this is a must item at the airport's bookstore. For the gweilo tourists who still fancy the old hong kong, this book offers a perfect starting point, probably the last as well.
It is very interesting to trace back the already-vanished colonial city from a gweilo's eye, more than that, it's a boy's perspective. While Dai Pai Dong, temples (joss stick, candles, hell's currency), disregarded speculators gathering on the streets now-and-then are still normal scene to Hong Kong people today, we can imagine how these objects/activities bewildered an England boy half of a century back. This is a perfect account of a city, if you're patient enough you can still track back the playground of him.
But what most surprises me in this book is not the oldish feelings, which i already expected before opening it, it is the boy himself. Probably he was deeply influenced by his open-minded, adventuus and intelligent mother (as he stated his mother was a humanist in heart), this 8 years old boy was about to head into all kind of cultural shocks at any given time. He didn't see the place backward, dirty or uncivilized (as we still do China sometime), he explored all the urban area including kln city, he tried wah mui, duck egg and likewise, while not long after he came to love the most local food. Today, still a lot of gweilos confine themselves in LKF but our little hero made friends with chinese people, be they bell-boys or his family's servant. That's where he knew to speak Cantonese.
There was one particular scene impressed me deeply, he, as being brought up as a Protestant, one time visited a temple and followed other locals' example, vowing to the statues, which lost his Chinese friend completely. He, as an 8 years old, said, 'respect.' We never knew if this is a true story, but it slaps many Chinese Christians hard. Respect. Chinese converts even dunno how to respect their own culture.